Google Releases Censorship Tracking Tools

The BBC is reporting that Google has released a “Transparency Report” which shows censorship levels around the globe, releasing details about how often countries around the world ask for identifying user data or to censor information.

Currently, the United States leads the running in user information requests, with 4287 such requests, but Brazil leads in deletion of data at 398 requests from the period of January 2010 to June 2010.

If there is one flaw in the tools, it is that while you can sort by what part of Google’s services content was removed from, (Blogger, YouTube, Search, etc.) there’s no real way to tell why this information was removed. So, the things censored could be anything from “a super secret government conspiracy against you” to “kiddie porn.”

One interesting statistic – Google does not automatically comply with every request. Only 82.8% of removal requests were complied with in the United States. According to Google:

“When we receive a request for user information, we review it carefully and only provide information within the scope and authority of the request. We may refuse to produce information or try to narrow the request in some cases.”

[Google’s Transparency Report Tool]